Oxford Farming Conference puts focus on brave opportunities

An agricultural sector with ambition needs to be bold and entrepreneurial, according to the chairman of the three-day Oxford Farming Conference which is scheduled to start tomorrow.

Al Brooks said this year’s conference will focus on bold agriculture, which means bold decisions, bold vision and bold actions.

“Renewed boldness must return to farming if our businesses are to thrive. Like it or not, safe and low-risk attitudes belong in a bygone era. We need to look forward over a horizon filled with opportunity,” he said, adding this year’s conference will expose delegates to the people, science and businesses that epitomise these descriptions.

“The Oxford Farming Conference has earned a reputation for delivering insightful and challenging research for delegates and the wider industry,” he said.

Research into what makes a farming entrepreneur and leader was commissioned for presentation at this year’s event. The conference has been held in Oxford for over 70 years and has established a reputation for strong debate and exceptional contributors. EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan is among this year’s speakers.

He will respond to a proposal by Owen Paterson, Conservative member of parliament for North Shropshire and a former secretary of state for Northern Ireland, that British agriculture would be better off outside the European Union.

Another Irishman, Dr T Pearse Lyons, the Dundalk born founder and president of Kentucky-based Alltech, a top 10 animal health company employing more than 4,200 people and conducts business in 128 countries, will also deliver a paper.

Dr Edmond Harty, whose leadership and innovations have helped make Dairymaster a world leader in dairy equipment manufacturing, is also an invited speaker. Dairymaster operates from its head office in Causeway, Co Kerry, has operations in Britain and the United States and customers in over 40 countries.

British Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Elizabeth Truss and her Labour shadow, Kerry McCarthy, MP, recently appointed to the post by her party’s new leader Jeremy Corbyn, will also debate.


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